Three Russian navy ships have arrived in the Philippines and two others are expected over the weekend to deliver donated military equipment, officials say.
It is Russia’s third naval visit since Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte took office vowing to diversify the country’s ties away from the United States and toward China and Russia.
Three Russian antisubmarine ships docked in Manila on October 20 in time for Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu’s upcoming visit to the country, said Rear Admiral E. Mikhailov, the task force commander.
Two other vessels will be arriving on October 21 at the port of Subic Bay northwest of Manila to unload donated military equipment, the Philippine Navy said in a statement.
Shoigu will be attending next week’s meeting of 10 Southeast Asian defense ministers with counterparts from other countries, including the United States and China.
The navy said the donated equipment would be handed over to Duterte, who earlier said Russia would provide 5,000 assault rifles.
“I am assuring you that we will do our best to make this port call a significant contribution to the strengthening of friendly ties and cooperation between our two nations in the interest of security and stability in the region,” Mikhailov said.
Russian news agency TASS reported that the Russian Navy will allow local residents of Manila to take tours of the large antisubmarine vessel Admiral Panteleyev during its stay in Manila.